Warnock raises funds with Tom Steyer after voting for legislation that poured billions into green energy

Events come amid a global energy price spike as Democrats vilify fossil fuels

Alana Goodman • September 30, 2022 4:30 p.m.

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.) raised money from wealthy green energy tycoons during a series of fundraisers in San Francisco last weekend, a month after voting for pass legislation that has directed billions to climate initiatives and the green energy industry.

During his West Coast fundraising swing, the senator partied with billionaire investor Tom Steyer, biofuels CEO Wade Randlett and “Defund the Police” lawyer Meena Harris, the vice’s niece -President Kamala Harris, according to photos. Steyer co-hosted an event for Warnock in San Francisco on Saturday, along with NextGen America board member Andrea Evans, according to a invitation for fundraising. Randlett co-hosted an event for Warnock on Friday.

The parties came weeks after Warnock voted for the Biden administration’s budget reconciliation bill – officially dubbed the Cut Inflation Act – and highlights the warm relationship between Democratic political leaders and the lucrative green technology industry. The legislation has invested billions in green energy initiatives and should benefit industries in which Steyer is an investor, analysts say. The fundraisers also come amid a global spike in energy prices, with many Americans struggling to pay their utility bills, and as Democratic lawmakers continue to vilify the fossil fuel industry.

Steyer, a Democratic donor who ran a short-lived presidential campaign in 2020, launched a “climate investment fund” called Galvanize in 2021 with the aim of investing “billions” in decarbonization ventures. The fund’s reported investments include Regrow Ag, a startup that “aims to accelerate the shift to climate-friendly agriculture” and Arable, which seeks to “create a more sustainable food supply.”

Regrow Ag and Arable have both been named as companies likely to benefit from a $20 billion allocation in the federal spending bill, according to analysis published by clean energy investment firm G2 Venture Partners. on August 17, the day after the bill. signed by President Joe Biden.

The bill “earmarked $20 billion to (1) target the reduction of methane and nitrous oxide emissions (e.g., Arable, Trace Genomics), (2) improve soil carbon and nitrogen content (e.g., Pivot Bio), and (3) avoiding/sequestering GHG emissions. (e.g., ProducePay, Regrow, Cloud Agronomics),” G2 Venture Partners wrote.

Steyer hailed the bill’s passage as “the culmination of a decade of advocacy and perseverance.” Earlier this month, he attended a White House party celebrating the legislation.

Friday’s fundraiser was co-sponsored by Randlett, a biofuels mogul and CEO of the transportation fuels division at General Biofuels. The spending bill extended the biodiesel tax credit and was hailed by leaders in the biofuels industry.

“This bill represents the most significant federal commitment to low-carbon biofuels since the Renewable Fuels Standard was expanded by Congress in 2007,” said the president of the Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, in a statement applauding the bill.

Andrea Evans, a board member of Steyer’s NextGen nonprofit group, also co-hosted the Saturday Warnock fundraising event.

The Cut Inflation Act has faced criticism, with Republicans saying it will raise taxes while directing federal funds to Democratic constituencies. Warnock praised the bill, saying it “will help reduce costs for families in every corner of our state, all without raising taxes on hard-working Georgia families. It’s a win- winner”.

Photos from Warnock’s fundraising trip to California also show him posing with his arm around Meena Harris, an Instagram lifestyle influencer and niece of Kamala Harris. Meena Harris is a strong advocate for the “defund the police” movement.

“Defund the police and reallocate funds to mental health and social services. That shouldn’t be controversial,” wrote Harris in a Twitter post.

She later extended on this by adding: “To all those in my mentions who keep order in my language, allow me to clarify: Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police.”

The senator is the party’s top fundraiser for the midterm cycle, raising $17 million last quarter in his competitive showdown against Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

About Michael S. Montanez

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